It’s no secret that stem cell research is a highly controversial topic that could potentially lead to big steps in the advancement of modern medicine. There are many factors that need to be considered when making an argument for or against stem cell research. Not just the physical, tangible factors (types of stem cells, possible uses and benefits, and funding) but the emotional ones (ethics and morals) as well. While understanding the reasons opposing stem cell research is simple, understanding the reasons supporting it may be even simpler. Stem cell research should continue because stem cell research has the potential to advance modern medicine and better our world.
Technically, there is no defined function for stem cells within the human body and, in theory, can form into almost any kind of cell within the body. There are two types of stem cells in the body known as either adult or embryonic. Adult stem cells are defined as multipotent, which are cells limited on the many types of cells it could become. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, which are cells that can be developed into any type of cell. Stem cells can be collected from various areas in the body. Bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, placenta, brain, liver, and skin fibers are all examples of where adult stem cells are found. Obtaining these quality stem cells is thought to be the key to potentially finding cures for many dreaded diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and even paralysis. It is the powerful possibilities of stem cell research that make it such a valuable asset to the advancement of modern medicine.
Possibly the most highly debated issues of stem cell research is the use of embryonic stem cells and whether their use is ethical. A blastocyst is a pre-implantation embryo that develops 5 days after the fertilization of an egg cell by a sperm cell (Stem Cell…, 2009). Because these cells are pluripotent, meaning they are able to differentiate into all cell types in the body, they are extremely malleable making them a scientific marvel worth researching. This state of pluripotency means that these cells can be used to replace old damaged tissues or help rebuild destroyed parts of the body. However, the reason the use of these cells is so controversial, regardless of their high level of flexibility, functionality, and compatibility is because once the inner cell mass is removed, the blastocyst no longer has the potential to become a fully developed human being. Thus meaning the fetus will no longer become a living organism.
It is this fact that has raised concerns as to the highly subjective question of whether or not an embryo is a human being. Similarly to the topic of abortion, the question of the rights of an unborn fetus are inherently controversial and complicate the issue of whether stem cell research is something to carry on with or to abandon due to the ethical issues at hand. Keeping in mind the legality of abortion,...